The Ressler Family Historical Record


            Frank Ressler (he did not have a middle name), son of Frank Joseph and Barbara (Schloss) Ressler, was born in Russia on June 5, 1886.  He was seven years old when in 1893 his parents decided to come to America because his father was unhappy over the developments in Russia concerning the treatment of the German people.

            They left the German settlement of Steinberg by way of Nicolai and Odessa.  Since his father had quite a bit of money, they were housed on the middle deck of the ship.  While on ship, young Frank remembered playing lots of games, especially hide and seek.  He also recalled that a bell would ring calling the passengers for meals.  After spending eight days on the water, they arrived in America and settled in the Little Heart Community, now known as St. Anthony, North Dakota.

             Frank attended first grade in Russia.  Because of the close contact with the Russian people, he spoke better Russian than German.  He progressed as far as third grade and had to discontinue schooling in order to help on the farm.

            Frank married Clementine Leingang, daughter of Peter Anton and Marian (Martin) Leingang, on October 12, 1908, in St. Anthony.  Clementine was born in St. Anthony on February 11, 1892.  She spent some years attending St. Mary’s Academy in Bismarck.  Her parents had immigrated to America in 1890 and also settled in the Little Heart Community.   

            They lived for a short time on his father’s farm, located three and a half miles northwest of St. Anthony.  The Ressler’s then moved to the Opitz farm, which was about three miles southeast of town.  They lived there until 1914 when they moved to Mandan, North Dakota.

            Children born to Frank and Clementine were Joseph, Marie, Al, Mike, Peter, Clement, Ermina “Ermie,” Leo, Bernetta “Nettie”, James, Valeria “Larry”, David, Margareta “Greta” and Viola.

            Joseph died after two weeks, Marie married Joe German, Al married Clarice Bumann, Mike died at the age of 21 in a car accident, Peter married Dorothy Boehm, Clement died at the age of 27 in a car accident, Ermie married Don Petersen, Leo married Sieglinde Schelling, Nettie married Joe Monroe, James married Bernice Berreth and, after Bernice died in 1985, married Joan Haas, Valeria married Iver Iverson, David Paul (premature) only lived a day and a half, Greta married Richard Swindler and Viola entered religious life and is now known as Sister Denise. 

            While living in Mandan, Frank worked as a carpenter in the shop of the Northern Pacific Railroad for many years. In later years he had other jobs with the railroad. He also spent some years working as a watchman at the Mandan Creamery.  Frank was a volunteer fireman with the Mandan Fire Department.  In those days, the first fireman to arrive at the fire hall was paid extra for pulling the hose carts to the fire.  Since Frank lived across the alley from the City Hall and usually arrived first, he was permitted to park his Maxwell truck in the fire hall. In this way the hose carts were hooked and ready for immediate use in case of a fire. Sons of Frank remember helping their father keep the pot-bellied stove burning at night during the cold winter months.  Upon Frank’s retirement, his badge was passed on to his youngest son, James, who had become a member of the Mandan Fire Department.

            Since his father, Frank Joseph, had insisted that his children learn to play a musical instrument, Frank learned to play the violin. He joined with several other men, and they spent many hours playing at wedding dances. His son, Sonny, played the drums. The violin Frank used was a copy of a Jacob Steiner. It is still in the Ressler family and is now owned by a granddaughter, Laurie Swank, who has had it framed in a case.  




            Frank believed in the German custom of celebrating “name days.”  Every year he religiously celebrated St. Francis Xavier’s feast day on December 3rd. This usually consisted of a big dinner

with his family including his brothers and sisters.  

            Clementine spent her time taking care of her family. She took in laundry and was known as the best person in Mandan who could iron and starch white shirts. She loved cooking for relatives’ weddings and after spending the day over a hot stove Clementine would dance up a storm at the wedding dance, especially doing the waltz and polka. She loved to sing and had a great love for children.

            Clementine died of cancer on December 27, 1949, at the age of 57. After her death, Frank lived alone or stayed with one of his children. In 1960, he moved to St. Benedict’s Home for the Aged in Dickinson, ND, where he resided until hospitalized. Frank died of cancer on February 20, 1964, at the age of 77. Both of their funeral services were held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Mandan, ND, and both are buried in the Mandan Union Cemetery.

            Their descendants have settled in many places throughout the United States.




Written by Sister Denise Ressler, OSB (daughter)

October 1996 and updated May 3, 2021



A New Hope

           It has been one week at CSU for the new college student, so we dare not celebrate prematurely. We have several promising developments. First, and I mean it is the first time ever, he has set an alarm and drug himself out of bed for two of the three days of 8am classes. Considering his summer vampire schedule, it is an incredible feat to see this human-being emerge from his coffin. I feel compelled to sprinkle holy water, grab a crucifix and chew on a garlic clove in support of this transformation.          

            You may be wondering why it took until college for this new alarm clock muscle to flex. Was it us, him? My response is there is virtually nothing you can force upon an oppositional defiant, professional procrastinator. Every change he makes must be his idea and on his timeline. Crying, pleading, threatening, bribing and natural consequences do not move the needle. We have driven ourselves mad for years trying to grapple with why we still argue about brushing your teeth, setting your alarm, turning assignments in on time, putting dirty clothes in the laundry room (we’ll even wash the @#$@##$# clothes). Little brother has watched and learned. He’s up at 6am, showering and pestering dad to hurry, so he can get to school early to hang out with friends. Can I get a hallelujah!

            This past week’s communication has centered around when will his car be fixed and can he buy, not one, but two pair of sneakers? Us responding with “in a few weeks, no and why is there a Tinder charge on dad’s credit card?” The other slight, but meaningful change is hearing him talk about how he doesn’t want to deposit his last paycheck, so he won’t spend it and that he’s going to get a job after he’s settled with school. All contradicted by his comment of “just take the $8 out of my account for the Tinder charge.” Why does any guy living in a co-ed dorm need a dating app? Based on the endless stream of girls wearing Lululemon yoga tights and half tops rotating through our basement during high school, there doesn’t appear to be a supply chain issue.

            Now for the piece de resistance of the story. Every year the high school gives students a planner. Every year he either lost it or tossed it in the trash within the first week. Never a note taken or a serious thought of using this powerful tool. With teary eyes, I would like to report that today I received a text video of him paging through his newly purchased CSU Planner including his class notes. His video was titled, “Peep dis shit.” My reply, “Omg..a planner in use. I’m so happy I could cry.”  His reply, “Shits tuff.”  For all my nerdy Star Wars friends and family, we have A New Hope of the Jedi variety.

Ramen Noodle Summer

          WTF just happened? The family sprinted through spring lacrosse and high school graduation, then hopped a plane to Kauai with our +1 teen BFF guest, before the youngest was even done with the last week of 7th grade. The trip was fabulous, yet frustrating. First, the amazing parts. The condo had an ocean view, air conditioning and all the extras we imagined. The weather was perfect, delivering huge waves to exhaust the teens as they tried to unsuccessfully conquer the ocean. It gave me great satisfaction to watch the waves pound all three boys into the sand over-and-over. The longer it took each of them to recover, the more I enjoyed it…insert evil laugh.

            Within the first few days, the two new graduates met the college girls down the road. How incredibly annoying for the rest of us as they either stumbled in at 2am or called for a ride home, while the middle-schooler is camped on our bedroom floor. We clearly have lost control of our vacation. We tried to remind ourselves that someday, we will look back on this special time and only remember the good moments. I think, I’ll just remember spending three weeks trying to get the 18-year-old’s wallet back from United, because he left it on the plane when we landed in Denver. His wallet flew back to Kauai alone for another two weeks. Oh, to be that wallet…I was so jealous.

            Now we move right into CSU orientation, without a wallet, so no ability to get his university ID. Fortunately, he found three roommates which saved him from the random assignment we were all dreading. Things were finally falling into place, so I naively start to relax. After all, we made it through the hard part, right? Nope. This is just the beginning of the revolving door of co-eds, with an emphasis on the herd of girls, crashing our basement at all hours, interrupting our already unpeaceful sleep. If it wasn’t the giggling girls, it was the guy’s late-night cooking after too much cheap beer.

            Waking up to dirty pots and bowls, still filled with left-over Ramen noodles, was a daily ritual. We could estimate the number of bodies in the basement based on the sneakers neatly lined up at the top of the stairs. Despite all this, we always welcomed the core group of guys. They were an inseparable pack. While our teen was a chronic slob, his future Marine friend, would always fold the blankets and leave things in an orderly fashion. The others were not as diligent. Someone left the noodle bowl on the floor. The best punishment, and highlight of my day, was watching our teen wipe up the 4×3 foot pool of noodle-laced dog vomit.

            Back to the giggling girls. We have officially lost control of our basement and our noodles. Dad had a genius, although risky idea. He’s moving into the basement bedroom to interrupt the nightly debauchery.  His repeated warnings were not taken seriously, until the first night. Imagine teen, plus friends, arriving to find dad true to his word. He shines his phone flashlight in dad’s eyes and drops multiple expletives and promptly exits until 2pm later that day. He returns, announcing that “I’m leaving,” as he throws dirty clothes in his backpack. I ask him where he’s going and when he’ll be back. I guess it isn’t running away if he actually gives you an answer. I remind him, “don’t forget your toothbrush.”

            Fast forward two days, and I receive back-back calls from him. This can only be unwelcome news because I know he’d only be calling out of desperation. Indeed, his car is stuck in third gear in the Target parking lot, and he needs a tow. Long story short, he came home, and his transmission is ruined largely due to him jamming it into 2nd and 3rd gear. What an incredibly expensive “I told you so,” lesson he learned mostly on our dime. After forfeiting much of his high school graduation money and tips from work, he is carless for eight weeks. CSU move-in day was successful, but not having his car is like leaving a limb behind. It only took 12 hours for him to lose his room key, so his only communication home thus far has been, “where can I get another key?”

            In one more year, we get to rinse and repeat high school. We have learned a lot, much to the chagrin of younger brother. We will be ready for 2.0.

How to give up an easy A on the last day of high school

Step 1. Do the opposite of what your Culinary Arts teacher tells you at the beginning of class.  Teacher, “if you get kicked out of class today, you’ll get a 0 on your lab assignment.”  

Step 2. Commence assignment which is cooking and presenting your gourmet burger which you are very proud of

Step 3. During clean up, you and your friend grab a couple of butcher knives

Step 4. Stand in front of the hallway window to maximize exposure

Step 5. Pretend to dramatically stab your friend. Extra points for theatrics

Step 6. Your teacher ignores you so…

Step 7. Rinse and repeat until you both get booted out of class

Step 8. Immediately run into your Lacrosse coach in hallway who inquires why you are not in class

Step 9. Explain that your teacher kicked you out for “nothing serious, you were just messing around.”

Step 10. Come home before your next class in a bit of a panic about what might happen next

Step 11. Return to take another final exam, then text your mom asking if the school has called

Step 12. Take your coach and parent’s advice and seek out teacher after school to apologize again

Step 13. Experience intense relief that when she called the office about mock stabbing that they left it up to her on whether to pursue it. She did not

Step 14. Go back to step 1 and remember you are getting a 0 which drops your grade to a B

Step 15. Pretend that you don’t care because ever since you were accepted into college your mantra has been, “All I need to do is graduate.”


Cheers to New Beginnings

Despite much teen-inspired content, I’ve lacked the motivation to put pen to paper. Writers, I use that term loosely in reference to myself, in the absence of their inspiration, typically can’t create on demand. Thus, I’ve been sulking my way through 2021, while mentally cataloging the often moronic, teen adventures.

With that in mind, a look back on 2021 is required to purge and move forward. While the purpose of this blog is to focus on comedy, I can’t reflect on 2021 without honoring the memory of Chad Levi Downs, July 6, 1977 – March 11, 2021. RIP. You are loved and missed by all who know you.

Now, let’s roll back the hands of time to winter of 2021. It was the typical Friday night. Dad was sleeping restlessly, while I’m pondering what time the teen shenanigans will begin.  I’m starting to feel optimistic about the evening when Sam comes home to “get something.” I mistakenly summon him to the basement because I can’t find the TV remote.

He dutifully runs downstairs to help me look. We retrieve the remote and then simultaneously look at the carpet to see perfectly formed sneaker imprints sprinkled around the media room and up the stairs. WHAT the *()#*$%()*#)$*#)$* is happening? Is this mud? What the (#*$&(#$()  is all over my carpet? “Tar from the train tracks,” he says. SERIOUSLY, why are you idiots on the train tracks? How did this tar escape your notice until now? Naturally, he’s sorry but deflects and blames the hair brained idea on his friends.

He freaks out and leaves, while I sit on the floor sobbing. How in the world am I going to clean 15ish, perfectly formed, sneaker imprints without waking up dad at midnight? There’s a long pause while I collect myself and try to think. Eureka! Google to the rescue.

Turns out rubbing alcohol and a rag is the magic formula. Sam was feeling guilty, so he called to check on me. Hearing me still sobbing must have struck the guilt nerve because he promptly returned home where we set to work with our rags and rubbing alcohol. I was convinced this was a full carpet replacement. Much to our amazement, an hour later we had tackled the worst of it. You could still see a shadow of a few prints, but otherwise it was a miraculous save.

The next morning, dad was up at the crack of dawn as usual. I finally rolled out of bed after my rigorous night of hard labor. When he sees me, he says “why does the basement smell like rubbing alcohol?” I tried to explain the night’s events in a way that he’d fully appreciate what a fine job we did saving the carpet. All the while, kicking myself for not taking before and after pictures.

There are more adventures to share, but I’ll close for now. Wishing everyone a much brighter 2022.

Happy Psycho New Year

Welcome to 2021. No resolutions, minimal fan fair. I’m just hoping that this year looks nothing like last year. I’m only a few days into the new year when I have a monumental, mommy meltdown that involved me furiously whipping my bathtub with a pair of jeans, then switching to my sports bra, all while changing into my PJ’s. The coup de grace was me storming out of the house for a late night drive, sneakers half on, no phone and yes, in my PJ’s as previously noted.

Now you might be wondering what caused such a kerfuffle? Let’s say in hindsight, it was a cascading overreaction to a fairly typical event in our house involving a sassy tween that devolved into a parental argument about having each other’s back. It’s us against them and sometimes I mentally detach hoping for an out-of-body experience to escape the monotony of parenting.

During my 30 minute rage drive, there wasn’t a lot of coherent thinking. Mostly out loud babbling about how everyone else could F-off. There’s no justification for my unhinged, psycho rant, but it sure did feel good to release the pressure valve. I’ve been actively working to be calm, rational, ask questions and approach each situation with empathy first, because we are all struggling in our own way.

After I finished indulging my primeval instincts, I collected myself and went home with what little dignity I could muster. You’d think an immediate apology was in order, but not so much. I still felt like I was unfairly targeted for my momentary parental lapse and I’m just not ready to concede.

The interesting side note is this all happened with a basement full of teenagers and they didn’t even notice. I’m actually pretty thankful for their oblivious nature. The last thing I wanted, was my teen cornering me about embarrassing him in front of his friends and hounding me to explain what’s wrong. Normally, I look forward to any opportunity to make them uncomfortable. The good news is I have an entire new year to unleash the psycho.

Pop the Trunk

            Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a four-door sedan filled with teens pulls in front of your house on Saturday morning to drop off your kid who “spent the night at friends.” They spill out of the car like a bunch of clowns in a circus ring. Watching from the sliding glass door, I deduce this must have been a co-ed sleep over. Really? The story was it’s a smallish birthday party and his friend’s dad doesn’t care who crashes for the night. Interestingly, the co-ed aspect was glossed over. The lies of omission just keep piling up.

                As I continue watching curiously from inside the house, my teen pops the trunk. Now that seems odd. He didn’t take anything with him. All sorts of thoughts race through my mind in an instant. Maybe it’s left over beer from the evening debacle and he plans to store it in the garage fridge. Yup, he’s done that before. Like we aren’t going to see a 12-pack sitting next to the sparkling water and Capri Suns?

                Much to my shock, a lovely young girl with long dark hair jumps out of the trunk. Huh? Now, I’ve seen them pack more kids inside without enough seat belts, but this is an entirely new phenomenon. Clearly, they have no idea the potential risks of riding in the trunk. Legalities aside, what if there’s a rear-end collision? Even more horrifying is that this is not a new car. What if there’s something wrong with the exhaust system which leads to carbon monoxide poisoning? I remember being a teenage idiot, but certainly we had a better sense of self-preservation.

                When I asked my kid what’s up with the girl in the trunk? He simply replied, “she didn’t have a ride.” The solution seems simple enough in his mind. Nothing bad could possibly happen. It’s amazing how none of them can identify potential danger. His under-developed brain stem reasons that if nothing bad happened before, then nothing bad can happen in the future. “Just chill bruh.” These are the moments I yearn to fast-forward to the end of the teen parenting movie to see if it’s a happy ending.

Extreme BeanBoozled 12th Birthday

          For those unfamiliar with the game, Extreme BeanBoozled is a collection of disgusting flavored Jelly Beans that challenges both young and old with “Are you brave enough?  Not for the scaredy cats or whiners. Extreme BeanBoozled is only for the brave and daring. No safety nets. No good flavors. No relief.” To give you an idea of the flavors, the selection includes Dirty Dish Water, Skunk Spray, Barf, Rotten Egg, Dead Fish and Booger. Seems like a perfect birthday game for a bunch of tweens trying to entertain themselves during a COVID friendly, co-hort of just five boys.

                Our birthday tradition always includes a trip to the local candy store, Scrumptious. They have literally every kind of candy including the old school, nostalgic goodies like Candy Cigarettes, Fun Dip, Razzles and Pop Rocks.  This trip was a pee your pants, tears in your eyes, belly laugh moment watching each boy eat their unfortunate bean choice. The Academy Award for best Jelly Bean drama goes to Brig.

                 After each boy selected their candy allotment, we took the party outside. As with all birthday parties, I’m usually watching the time, thinking, “only one more hour before everyone goes home and I can get back to some me time and a cocktail.”  A few rounds in, several of the boys had already chickened out. The remaining three were using the time-tested system of eeny, meenyminymoe to pick the next bean, when Brig lands on Skunk Spray. Really, there’s no good choice, so I figured it can’t be any worse than his previous turns. The great part is I have the entire thing on video. The question is should I share this without parental permission? Crap, probably not, but it is so hysterical that I’m giggling just thinking about it.

                I’ll do my best to transcribe. Lots of excited chatter among the boys as Brig says, “I think I’m going to spit this one out boys.” Birthday boy, “no don’t. Brig, you can do this.” Hubby, “we believe in you Brig.” They start chanting “,” as his head moves in a whiplash motion, while gagging repeatedly ending in the grand finale of a small puddle of vomit on the sidewalk. The crowd goes wild. I guess we’re all desperate for entertainment these days, so I laughed a little too hard. However, he shook it off easily and seemed to be proud of his puddle. We may have started another right of passage to teen hood. How will we top the Scrumptious trip next year?

Shut Your Pie Hole….Please

           While spending another Sunday watching youth lacrosse, I was reminded that we all take our kid’s sports too seriously. At the beginning of every season, all the parents are asked to review the Code of Conduct which ALWAYS stipulate to shut your pie hole and let the coaches do the coaching, while you curtail your commentary to cheering and clapping for a job well done.

                In full disclosure, I along with every member of my immediate family, have broken the sacred rule of not coaching from the sidelines. We all get a little too excited, especially when we know the sport well. After spectating for 13 years, I’ve thankfully evolved to an almost meditative state. Simply observing, letting the bad calls wash over me like a wave and then letting them go as the wave recedes. Followed by a few silent yoga Om’s and limiting myself to yelling out the occasional, “good job!”  

                If you really want entertainment seek out the parents watching their first born. It takes years of discipline to become aware of how stupid we sound yelling useless directions. “Get back. Get up. Go..go..go. Hustle. Shoot. Pass. Get open. Get on him.” I can tell you on good authority that 1. Your kids hate it when you yell. 2. They can’t hear you 90% of the time anyway. 3. It’s just youth sports, so get a grip on your verbal diarrhea.

                Not to stereo type dads, but it’s not a stretch to expect them to be living vicariously through their kids. There’s always one dad who has never read the Code of Conduct or simply thinks it only applies to everyone else. He’s always hovering close to the sideline, moving restlessly side-to-side wearing his favorite sports team shirt. By 10 minutes in, you know what’s coming, but the sheer volume and irritation in his tone still catches you by surprise. He’s the one initiating the sideline brawl with the other team or getting booted by the ref. To the rest of the dads who keep it together, kudos to you. Many of you have coached youth sports, so THANK YOU. 

                Let’s not forget about those OTT moms. Sadly, as a newer sports mom, I was guilty as charged. Now that I’ve evolved, hearing moms’ outbursts, outside of the expected accolades for their own kid, throws me off. I have zero tolerance for that broken record mom, who clearly doesn’t understand the rules of the game. However, she just can’t stop herself from repeating stuff that makes no sense. My advice is to stick to cheering for obvious things like a goal.

                The most annoying comments are when directed at the referee. The refs are the unsung heroes of youth sports. They are clearly underpaid for the abuse they endure. No matter what call they make, someone is unhappy. You’ve got the coaches, parents and players second guessing every call. I’ve had to chastise my hubby on a few occasions for yelling about a perceived unfair call or yelling “thank you” for calling a penalty in our favor. Is that necessary? Do the refs give a shit about the parent’s approval? In his defense, he’s coached our youngest in lacrosse, so at least he knows what he’s talking about.

                My mom, “Mimi”, is by far the worst offender. After years of giving her the harry eyeball or reminding her of afore mentioned reason to put a lid on it, she’s been somewhat muted during lacrosse games. However, soccer is an entirely different story because she coached my team as a kid. She’s a lost cause during my nephew’s soccer games, because she’s an expert. My dad, Muppy, was also a soccer coach. He’s much more reserved on the sideline. I can see the wheels turning, so I know exactly what he’s thinking, but he keeps it to himself. On the rare occasion that we attend our nephew’s game, you can see me slowly migrating to a different part of the sideline as the game progresses.

                Thinking back to the beginning of our sports journey, you’d think we were watching the boys going for the Gold in the Olympics. God forbid one of them didn’t get enough playing time or didn’t always do his best. The hubby recently reminded me of an embarrassing moment from the early soccer years. We were both simultaneously yelling (no idea what) at our kid and one of our team moms gave us a look like “you two are nuts, dial it back.” It was one of those moments we often reflect upon to keep our perspective.

                It’s fun to remember how much has changed as the boys have grown. Every weekend, including holidays, here we’d come with our juice boxes, Goldfish and collapsible lawn chairs wondering if it was our turn to bring half-time snacks, but we forgot. Sports life is simpler now. The older one drives himself to games and practice, no more team snack responsibilities and the youngest is just happy to be playing with friends. We’ve spent so much of our lives on the sidelines, it’s hard to imagine how we’ll spend our time when the boys are off to college. I guess we’ll restart the entire process with the grandkids someday.

                 Overall, I wouldn’t do anything differently. It’s wonderful to watch our youngest following in his brother’s lacrosse footsteps. Thankfully, it’s a much more relaxed experience the second time around. We finally understand what really matters is that they have fun. Pie holes closed.

Back to School

Sunday night I sat on the deck crying like a baby feeling sorry for myself because I was convinced that Monday would be an epic learning disaster. Despite just returning from a week-long vacation, I’m stressed out of my mind and I’m taking the family down with me. The Rolodex of things to do keeps repeating.  I’m already behind at work, the schools are spamming us with last minute directions, schedule changes and I’m pretty sure someone is out of clean underwear and it’s probably me. While I’m relieved that school is starting, I’m dreading REMOTE LEARNING.


My pity party is ridiculous because we have it easy compared to just about everyone else. We are a tech savvy family with ample resources to bridge any learning gaps. We have dueling home offices because I was already a remote worker before this mess started. The hubby also has a dedicated office space. Why can’t I get my shit together? Um, it might be time to replace my magic HRT pellet embedded in my sweet cheek if you know what I mean. Yes, hormone replacement therapy is a god send. I’ll have to revisit that topic later.

Seriously, how can I be so utterly pathetic when I pride myself on being optimistic? I’m a sucker for all the clichés…the glass is half full, when life gives you lemons make lemonade, look for the silver lining. I’m always spewing some positive thinking mantra. Even the kids have started using my own material against me. Nothing like being shamed by your tween for not being grateful and counting your blessings. The teen takes an extreme shaming approach. “It’s not like you are being held in a terrorist camp in the middle east.” Yeah, I’ve got that going for me.

Back to the back to school. All my bluster, whining and crying was admittedly over the top. Monday started rather smoothly thanks to dad taking charge after watching me spiral the night before. He’s not just dad, but our IT Superhero. Zoom went down, so he was only able to attend two of his six classes. Day two started off rocky as well. Turns out using the pseudo-name PinkObesePickle wasn’t such a great idea as the teacher is scrolling through attendance. Our newly minted middle schooler was losing it as IT Superhero was deploying his wizardry to save the day before his name was called. I have no idea how he figured it out on the fly, while the kiddo was in full freak out mode. Dad points increase, while mine dip into the negative.

 Thankfully, the high schooler started a few days later. He’s the one we worry about. He’s as smart as he is lazy. We keep reminding ourselves that it’s just a phase and he has it where it counts.  We begged him to do a practice login and get a good night’s sleep because it’s video on for class. Of course, he had “plans,” so as expected it was a fire drill to get started.  There he sat, hoodie pulled tight around his face, over a hat with a giant blanket on his lap threatening that if we didn’t leave him alone, he wasn’t logging in.  Somehow, he was only 10 minutes late for his first class.

Just when I thought we were in the clear; he jumps up during the middle of his last class and says his friends have been in a car accident and he must go to the hospital. What?? Is this some elaborate ruse to ditch early? I tell him you can’t get into the hospital. Also, they must be fine if they are posting on social media. He shoots out of the house like a rocket and then gets mad at me for being unsupportive. He leaves the Zoom meeting open with the camera on.  I can hear the teacher call his name several times, while I’m texting him to come back which never happens. As class ends, I’m lingering outside camera view to note any homework assignments like some weirdo eavesdropper. After I’m sure all the students have left the meeting, I sit down, unmute and politely introduce myself. She was a good sport about my student’s abrupt departure, but little does she know it’s only the beginning.